30488

Letter from Edward Partridge, between 14 and 19 November 1833

Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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Clay Co. Mo. 1 Nov. 1833
Beloved Brother Joseph
I set myself down this evening to write you a few lines, I shall not attempt to give you a full history of what has happened unto us within a few days past, for I suppose that br. William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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has given you the particulars,2 Suffice it to say that br. John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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& myself are now living within 3 miles of Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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& about 10 from Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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3

Two of Partridge’s daughters, Emily and Eliza, later wrote reminiscent accounts of this period in the family’s history. According to Emily, the family lived in a house owned by a “Mr Bess.” Eliza wrote that Partridge “found a miserable old hous that he could have with one fireplace in it which he and a Brother by the name of John Corrill moved their families into. I think my Mother [Lydia Clisbee Partridge] as also Sister [Margaret Lyndiff] Corrill must have had their patience tried very much during this winter, the house open and cold and their cooking and children and Husbands and selves all around one fireplace for stoves were not in use then.” Emily later recorded, “Father and elder John Corrille, procured an old log cabin that had been used for a stable and cleaned it up as best they could and moved their families in. The two families consisted of fifteen or sixteen persons. There was a large fireplace in the room (which was a good sized one) and blankets were hung up a few feet back from the fire to keep us from freezing, for the weather was extremely cold—so cold that the ink would freeze in fathers pen as he sat writing close to the fire inside of those blankets. We took one side of the fireplace and brother Corrills family took the other. Our beds were in the back part of the room which was cold enough for the polar region.” (Lyman, Journal, 10; Young, “Incidents,” 77–78.)  


most of our brethren have left Jackson Co.

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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many have come to this Co.

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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Some have gone South & some east.4

By mid-December, exiled church members were living in each of the four counties then bordering Jackson County: Van Buren County to the south, Lafayette County to the east, Ray County to the northeast, and Clay County to the north. Most, however, lived in Clay County. (Letter from William W. Phelps, 15 Dec. 1833; see also Parkin, “History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County,” 35–37.)  


When it was concluded that we would go, there appeared to be a spirit almost universal for leaving the land forthwith.5

In a letter to Oliver Cowdery, John Corrill recorded that on 4 November 1833, “we . . . came to the conclusion, on seeing the rage of the people, that it would be wisdom for us to leave the county immediately, rather than to have so many lives lost as probably would be.” (“From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 125.)  


our move has been speedy & we have had many inconveniences to encounter. the Lord for the most part as yet has given us very favorable weather. many are living in tents & shanties not being able to procure houses.6

For housing, the refugees in Clay County built huts in the woods, occupied abandoned slave cabins and other vacant structures, set up tents, or lived in the open. One refugee recalled, “We gathered up what little we could take in wagons and crossed the Missouri river and pitched our tents in Clay county, on the bank of the river. Many were taken with chills and fever, and altogether the Mormons presented a pitiable spectacle. . . . We lived in tents until winter set in, and did our cooking out in the wind and storms. Log heaps were our parlor stoves, and the cold, wet ground our velvet carpets, and the crying of little children our piano forte; while the shivering, sick people hovered over the burning log piles here and there.” (Austin, Life among the Mormons, 72–73.)  


as yet. We are in hopes that we shall be able to return to our houses & lands before a great while but how this is to be accomplished is all in the dark to us as yet, br. Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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has prophesied that we shall be enabled to return to our houses by the first of next Jany & enjoy the fruit of our labor & none to molest or make afraid.7

See Leviticus 26:6; Ezekiel 39:26; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 60 [2 Nephi 1:9].  


he says he was constrained to prophesy & if he ever spoke by the spirit of God he then did & if it does not come to pass we may call him a false prophet.8

Pratt was one of four men sent to Missouri by revelation in late 1830 from New York and had recently been the instructor for the school of the prophets in Independence. In his response to the letter featured here, JS stated, “I know that Zion, in the own due time of the Lord will be redeemed, but how many will be the days of her purification, tribulation and affliction, the Lord has kept hid from my eyes; and when I enquire concerning this subject the voice of the Lord is, Be still, and know that I am God!” (Revelation, Oct. 1830–A [D&C 32:1–3]; Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:3]; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 10 Dec. 1833.)  


the next night after this prophecy was deliverd from 1 or 2 oclock till day light on the morning of the 13th Nov. there appeared an extraordinary phenomenon the heavens were literally filled with meteors or shooting stars as they are called. I was encamped on the N. side of Missouri

One of longest rivers in North America, in excess of 3,000 miles. From headwaters in Montana to confluence with Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri River drains 580,000 square miles (about one-sixth of continental U.S.). Explored by Lewis and Clark...

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10

That is, the Missouri River, which forms the border between Jackson and Clay counties.  


opposite Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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& it appeared to us that they shot off every way from us none comeing directly down that came very near the ground though it is said that they struck the ground in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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& in other places round about, I viewed them for more than an hour before daylight & probably saw thousands, at one time in the N.E. there appeared probably 50 or 100 at one time they streamed down almost as thick as rain that appears at a distance when the sun shone upon it.11

The Leonid meteor shower occurs annually in mid-November as the earth passes through dust and other particles left from comet Tempel-Tuttle. This meteor shower appears with particular intensity at intervals of approximately thirty-three years, and it was one of these more remarkable displays that Partridge and others viewed on 13 November 1833. Newspapers across the nation reported the event, and one article called it a “remarkable exhibition of Fire Balls.” The following month the church’s newspaper, The Evening and the Morning Star, also reported the spectacle, and JS recorded it in his journal. (Hitchcock, “On the Meteors of Nov. 13, 1833,” 365; Denison Olmstead, “The Meteors,” Maryland Gazette [Annapolis], 21 Nov. 1833, [2]; “Signs in the Heavens,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 116; JS, Journal, 5–13 Nov. 1833; see also Littmann, Heavens on Fire, 272.)  


during this sight our people rejoiced but the worlds people were much frightened.12

Partridge’s daughter Eliza later wrote, “I saw the stars fall. They came down almost as thick as snow flakes and could be seen till the daylight hid them from sight. Some of our enemies thought the day of judgment had come and were very much frightened but the Saints rejoiced and considered it as one of the signs of the Latter days.” Jackson County resident Josiah Gregg concurred. He thought the meteor shower caused many of his neighbors “to wonder whether, after all, the Mormons might not be in the right; and whether this was not a sign sent from heaven as a remonstrance for the injustice they had been guilty of towards that chosen sect.” (Lyman, Journal, 9–10; Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies, 317–318.)  


there has some other signs appeared of late, & rumor says many but I put no confidence in the reports of our enemies
If we are delivered & permitted to return to our homes it must be by the interposition of God, for we can see no prospect of help from goverment13

In a later history, Partridge stated that church members attempted to obtain peace warrants from justices of the peace in both Jackson and Lafayette counties but were largely unsuccessful. Nevertheless, probably two days after Partridge sent the letter featured here to JS, Missouri attorney general Robert Wells suggested that if the Mormons requested help from Governor Dunklin to reinstate them on their properties, the governor would likely respond favorably by assigning them a military escort. This advice from Wells instigated a series of appeals from the Mormons. ([Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:20; Jan. 1840, 1:33; Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, 15–16; Robert W. Wells, Jefferson City, MO, to Alexander Doniphan and David R. Atchison, 21 Nov. 1833, copy, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  


& it appears to me that nought but the judgements of God will open the way for our return, some of our brn. have their fears that we shall be driven from city to city & from sinagouge to sinagouge & few be left to receive an inheritance

Generally referred to land promised by or received from God for the church and its members. A January 1831 revelation promised church members a land of inheritance. In March and May 1831, JS dictated revelations commanding members “to purchase lands for an...

View Glossary
in the land,14

This passage refers to a revelation JS dictated two years earlier on 30 August 1831, which read, “The land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood otherwise there is none inheritance for you . . . & if by blood as ye are forbidden to shed blood lo your enemies are upon you & ye shall be scourged from city to city & from Synagogue to synagogue & but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.” (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:29–31].)  


& this probably will be the case unless we are soon restored back, for notwithstanding that many are kind to us in this Co.

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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yet we have every reas reasonto believe that they will shortly be stirred up against us & want to drive [p. [1]]
Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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Clay Co. Mo. 11

TEXT: Possibly “14”, “17”, or “19”.  


Nov. 1833
Beloved Brother Joseph
I set myself down this evening to write  you a few lines, I shall not attempt to give you a full history of what  has happened unto us within a few days <past,> for I suppose that br. [William W.] Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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has  given you the particulars,2 I simply <Suffice it to> say that br. [John] Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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& myself are  now living within 3 miles of Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

More Info
Clay Co. & about 10 from Independenc[e]

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
3

Two of Partridge’s daughters, Emily and Eliza, later wrote reminiscent accounts of this period in the family’s history. According to Emily, the family lived in a house owned by a “Mr Bess.” Eliza wrote that Partridge “found a miserable old hous that he could have with one fireplace in it which he and a Brother by the name of John Corrill moved their families into. I think my Mother [Lydia Clisbee Partridge] as also Sister [Margaret Lyndiff] Corrill must have had their patience tried very much during this winter, the house open and cold and their cooking and children and Husbands and selves all around one fireplace for stoves were not in use then.” Emily later recorded, “Father and elder John Corrille, procured an old log cabin that had been used for a stable and cleaned it up as best they could and moved their families in. The two families consisted of fifteen or sixteen persons. There was a large fireplace in the room (which was a good sized one) and blankets were hung up a few feet back from the fire to keep us from freezing, for the weather was extremely cold—so cold that the ink would freeze in fathers pen as he sat writing close to the fire inside of those blankets. We took one side of the fireplace and brother Corrills family took the other. Our beds were in the back part of the room which was cold enough for the polar region.” (Lyman, Journal, 10; Young, “Incidents,” 77–78.)  


 most of our br[ethre]n have left Jackson Co.

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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many have come to this Co.

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

More Info
 Some have gone South & some east.4

By mid-December, exiled church members were living in each of the four counties then bordering Jackson County: Van Buren County to the south, Lafayette County to the east, Ray County to the northeast, and Clay County to the north. Most, however, lived in Clay County. (Letter from William W. Phelps, 15 Dec. 1833; see also Parkin, “History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County,” 35–37.)  


When it was concluded that  we would go, there appeared to be a spirit almost universal for leav ing the land forthwith.5

In a letter to Oliver Cowdery, John Corrill recorded that on 4 November 1833, “we . . . came to the conclusion, on seeing the rage of the people, that it would be wisdom for us to leave the county immediately, rather than to have so many lives lost as probably would be.” (“From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 125.)  


our move has been speedy & we have had  many inconveniences to encounter. yet are the Lord for the most part as  yet has given us very favorable weather. many are living as yet  in tents & shanties not being able to procure houses.6

For housing, the refugees in Clay County built huts in the woods, occupied abandoned slave cabins and other vacant structures, set up tents, or lived in the open. One refugee recalled, “We gathered up what little we could take in wagons and crossed the Missouri river and pitched our tents in Clay county, on the bank of the river. Many were taken with chills and fever, and altogether the Mormons presented a pitiable spectacle. . . . We lived in tents until winter set in, and did our cooking out in the wind and storms. Log heaps were our parlor stoves, and the cold, wet ground our velvet carpets, and the crying of little children our piano forte; while the shivering, sick people hovered over the burning log piles here and there.” (Austin, Life among the Mormons, 72–73.)  


<as yet.> We are in hopes  that we shall be able to return to our houses & lands before a grea[t]  while but how this is to be accomplished is all in the dark to us as yet,   br. Parley [P. Pratt]

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

View Full Bio
has prophesied that we shall be enabled to return  to our houses by the first of next Jany & enjoy the fruit of our  labor & none to molest or make afraid.7

See Leviticus 26:6; Ezekiel 39:26; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 60 [2 Nephi 1:9].  


he says he was constrained  to prophesy & if he ever spoke by the spirit of God he then did & if it  does not come to pass we may call him a false prophet.8

Pratt was one of four men sent to Missouri by revelation in late 1830 from New York and had recently been the instructor for the school of the prophets in Independence. In his response to the letter featured here, JS stated, “I know that Zion, in the own due time of the Lord will be redeemed, but how many will be the days of her purification, tribulation and affliction, the Lord has kept hid from my eyes; and when I enquire concerning this subject the voice of the Lord is, Be still, and know that I am God!” (Revelation, Oct. 1830–A [D&C 32:1–3]; Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–A [D&C 97:3]; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 10 Dec. 1833.)  


the next  night after this prophecy was deliverd from 1 or 2 oclock till  day light <on the morning of the 13th Nov.> there appeared an extraordinary ph[enomenon]9

TEXT: “ph[hole in paper]”. Supplied text from a copy of the letter in Partridge, Genealogical Record, 10.  


the heavens  were literally filled with meteors or shooting stars as they are  called. I was encamped on the N. side of Missouri

One of longest rivers in North America, in excess of 3,000 miles. From headwaters in Montana to confluence with Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri River drains 580,000 square miles (about one-sixth of continental U.S.). Explored by Lewis and Clark...

More Info
10

That is, the Missouri River, which forms the border between Jackson and Clay counties.  


opposite Independenc[e]

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
 & it appeared to us that they shot off every way from us none come ing <directly I> down very near us that came very near the ground though it is  said that they struck the ground in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
& in other places  round about, I viewed them for more than an hour before daylight  & probably saw thousands, at one time in the N.E. there appeared  probably 50 or 100 at one time they streamed down almost a[s] thick as  rain you have seen <that appears> at a distance when the sun shone upon it.11

The Leonid meteor shower occurs annually in mid-November as the earth passes through dust and other particles left from comet Tempel-Tuttle. This meteor shower appears with particular intensity at intervals of approximately thirty-three years, and it was one of these more remarkable displays that Partridge and others viewed on 13 November 1833. Newspapers across the nation reported the event, and one article called it a “remarkable exhibition of Fire Balls.” The following month the church’s newspaper, The Evening and the Morning Star, also reported the spectacle, and JS recorded it in his journal. (Hitchcock, “On the Meteors of Nov. 13, 1833,” 365; Denison Olmstead, “The Meteors,” Maryland Gazette [Annapolis], 21 Nov. 1833, [2]; “Signs in the Heavens,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 116; JS, Journal, 5–13 Nov. 1833; see also Littmann, Heavens on Fire, 272.)  


during  this sight our people rejoiced but the worlds people were much  frightened.12

Partridge’s daughter Eliza later wrote, “I saw the stars fall. They came down almost as thick as snow flakes and could be seen till the daylight hid them from sight. Some of our enemies thought the day of judgment had come and were very much frightened but the Saints rejoiced and considered it as one of the signs of the Latter days.” Jackson County resident Josiah Gregg concurred. He thought the meteor shower caused many of his neighbors “to wonder whether, after all, the Mormons might not be in the right; and whether this was not a sign sent from heaven as a remonstrance for the injustice they had been guilty of towards that chosen sect.” (Lyman, Journal, 9–10; Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies, 317–318.)  


there has some other signs appeared of late, & rumor  says many but I put no confidence in the reports of our enemies
If we are delivered & permitted to return to our homes it must be by the  interposition of God, for we can see no prospect of help from goverment13

In a later history, Partridge stated that church members attempted to obtain peace warrants from justices of the peace in both Jackson and Lafayette counties but were largely unsuccessful. Nevertheless, probably two days after Partridge sent the letter featured here to JS, Missouri attorney general Robert Wells suggested that if the Mormons requested help from Governor Dunklin to reinstate them on their properties, the governor would likely respond favorably by assigning them a military escort. This advice from Wells instigated a series of appeals from the Mormons. ([Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:20; Jan. 1840, 1:33; Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, 15–16; Robert W. Wells, Jefferson City, MO, to Alexander Doniphan and David R. Atchison, 21 Nov. 1833, copy, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  


 & it appears to me that nought but the judgements of God will open  the way for our return, some of our brn. have their fears that  we shall be driven from city to city & from sinagouge to sinagouge  & few be left to receive an inheritance

Generally referred to land promised by or received from God for the church and its members. A January 1831 revelation promised church members a land of inheritance. In March and May 1831, JS dictated revelations commanding members “to purchase lands for an...

View Glossary
in the land,14

This passage refers to a revelation JS dictated two years earlier on 30 August 1831, which read, “The land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood otherwise there is none inheritance for you . . . & if by blood as ye are forbidden to shed blood lo your enemies are upon you & ye shall be scourged from city to city & from Synagogue to synagogue & but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.” (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:29–31].)  


& this probably  will be the case unless we are soon restored back, for notwithstan ding that many are kind to us in this Co.

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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yet we have every reas  [reason]to believe that they will shortly be stir[r]ed up agai[nst]15

TEXT: “agai[page torn]”.  


us & want to drive [p. [1]]
Next
By 19 November 1833, most church members had fled Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, to surrounding areas, congregating primarily to the north in Clay County

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

More Info
, Missouri.1

“From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 125–126.  


After being expelled and while living near Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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, Clay County, Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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wrote the letter featured here to JS, reporting on the condition of the refugees and assessing their prospects for returning to Jackson County. Supposing that William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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had already provided JS with more detailed information about the events in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, Partridge refrained from chronicling events that precipitated the expulsion.2 Although Partridge mentioned other events such as the Leonid meteor shower in his letter, such topics were overshadowed by his concern for the loss of private lands in Missouri and the failed attempts for governmental redress.
Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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struggled with the realization that the refugees might never be able to return to their inheritances

Generally referred to land promised by or received from God for the church and its members. A January 1831 revelation promised church members a land of inheritance. In March and May 1831, JS dictated revelations commanding members “to purchase lands for an...

View Glossary
without “the interposition of God.” As bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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of the church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, Partridge was responsible to receive consecrated

The dedicating of money, lands, goods, or one’s own life for sacred purposes. Both the New Testament and Book of Mormon referred to some groups having “all things common” economically; the Book of Mormon also referred to individuals who consecrated or dedicated...

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funds and supplies from faithful church members and to then assign land to them as a stewardship

One who managed property and goods under the law of consecration; also someone given a specific ecclesiastical responsibility. According to the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” members of the church were to make donations to the bishop, who would record the...

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for personal and family use.3

See, for example, James Lee, Agreement of Consecration, on verso of Edward Partridge, to “Honored Father” et al., 22 Oct. 1834, draft, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL.  


Not only did church members lose their homes in the expulsion, but Partridge also lost the ability to implement this law of consecration as detailed in JS’s revelations.4

For more information on Partridge’s role in implementing the law of consecration, see Historical Introduction to Letter to Edward Partridge, 2 May 1833.  


As a possible solution to this problem, he recommended purchasing lands owned by the citizens of Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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but noted the unlikelihood of this option because it “would take many thousand dollars.” Partridge indicated that many church members desired “to receive a deed of some land,” despite the fact that the antagonism in Jackson County prevented them from occupying lands there. Partridge thought it prudent to grant such requests, even though he likely doubted that they would ever reoccupy the land. He asked JS for “advice upon the subject of the lands & also I want wisdom & light on many subjects.”
In his letter, Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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also expressed frustration with government officials. Church leaders in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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followed the advice Governor Daniel Dunklin

14 Jan. 1790–25 July 1844. Farmer, tavern owner, businessman, investor, lawyer, politician. Born near Greenville, Greenville District, South Carolina. Son of Joseph Dunklin Jr. and Sarah Margaret Sullivan. Moved to what became Caldwell Co., Kentucky, 1806...

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had given to seek redress, protection, and reinstatement to their lands through local authorities but had not obtained meaningful results.5

See Historical Introduction to Letter, 30 Oct. 1833.  


A peace warrant that was finally obtained after three attempts appeared to be useless, intended lawsuits for damages suffered in July had not yet been filed, and the prospects for government assistance seemed nonexistent. Neither the executive nor the judicial branches of the state government seemed willing to protect the rights of this particular minority. In addition, government militia and violent mobs appeared to be one and the same. Partridge maintained a faint hope for justice through the courts but believed the standard legal process would take so long that arbitration might be the best solution for reacquiring the Mormons’ lands. With these many issues and others on his mind, Partridge asked JS for “a comfort[ing] [w]ord from the Lord through you.”
Because of a small tear in the upper right corner of the leaf, which renders a portion of the date illegible, the exact day on which Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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wrote this letter is unknown. However, enough of the date remains to conclude that he wrote it on either 14, 17, or 19 November 1833. The letter was mailed from Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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on 19 November.6 The language of Partridge’s letter indicates that some time had passed since he had seen the Leonid meteor shower, which occurred during the early morning hours of 13 November, making it unlikely that the letter was written on 14 November. It is also possible that the document featured here is actually an early draft of the letter Partridge eventually sent to JS. It contains various editorial markings and does not bear Partridge’s signature, indicating that he may not have intended to send this copy.7

Partridge occasionally wrote drafts of letters before sending final copies. For example, a year later, on 22 October 1834, Partridge drafted a letter to his family living in Massachusetts before making and sending a final copy. (Edward Partridge, to “Honored Father” et al., 22 Oct. 1834, draft, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL.)  


The letter also mentions that Partridge wrote in the evening, suggesting the letter could not have been written on November 19, as the mail left sometime that day. Therefore, though it is possible that Partridge began writing this letter as early as 14 November 1833, it is more likely that he drafted it on 17 November, made editorial corrections, copied it, and mailed it to JS no later than 19 November.
JS responded to this letter, as well as to others from William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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and John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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, on 10 December 1833. A portion of JS’s response seems to directly answer Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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’s concerns: JS warned against giving up lands in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, stating that “it is better that you should die in the ey[e]s of God, then that you should give up the Land of Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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, the inheritances which you have purchased with your monies.” He then directed church leaders in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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to seek redress from all levels of government and said that if government officials would not help, then God “will not fail to exicute Judgment upon your enemies and to avenge his own elect.” JS closed his response with a prayer for those who faced tribulation in Missouri and lamented that he had not been there with them.8

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